Port Blair, July 14: An awareness programme was organized by the Directorate of RD,PRIs &ULBs, Marine Hill, Port Blair, on 14th July 2022 to sensitize the market place and commercial establishments on Single Use Plastic across all the Gram Panchayats in the UT of Andaman & Nicobar islands to mark the importance of International Plastic Bag Free Day (i.e. 03rd July 2022). 

The ban on manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of identified single use plastic has came into force across the country since 1st July 2022. Single use plastic is intended to be used “only once” before being disposed off or recycled.  The banned items include mostly plastic carry bags, ear buds with plastic sticks, plastic sticks for balloons, plastic straw, candy sticks, ice cream sticks, polystyrene (Thermocol) for decoration, plastic plates, cups, plastic glasses and plastic cutlery. 

Most of the human population is habituated to use Single Use Plastic due to its ease of use and convenience, so does the increase in demand for the plastic products which then results in environmental contamination. The researchers point out the adverse effects on environmental and public health due to the large production and disposal of plastic waste that leads to the consumption of toxic chemicals by humans and marine animals, causing millions of death early.

In this regard, a sensitization programme was organized at Community Hall, Calicut under Prothrapur Block of South Andaman District wherein the general public and shopkeepers of the region attended the programme. The programme was also graced by the State Nodal Officer, SBM-G, Pradhan, Up-Pramukh and officials from the Directorate. Besides, the Ward Members, Panchayat Secretary also participated in the programme. The participants were made aware about the different types of plastics, harmful effects of the Single use of plastics, SWM Bye laws 2019, alternatives of plastic etc. The State Nodal Officer encouraged the commercial establishments, stakeholders and general public on use of alternatives as much as possible and to discontinue the use of plastics. He emphasized to intensify the behavioral change exercises to reduce the demand of Single Use Plastic in everyday life. The initiatives of the Department taken up for effective Solid and Liquid Waste Management under Phase-II of Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen) were described in detail.

Further, Pradhan and Panchayat Secretary also encouraged the Commercial Establishments and Stakeholders to abide by the SWM Bye laws 2019 and help for the eradication of Single Use Plastic from everyday use, handling and operation.

Single use plastics products may epitomize convenience, but with the damage they cause through production, distribution and litter, they are a major threat to environmental and human health. Considering the importance of public participation in elimination of single use plastic items awareness generation on plastic waste management and reduction in use of single use plastic items is vital in bringing about behavioral change.   The Domain Expert (Health and Sanitation) and Consultant (IEC) also conducted thematic sessions on the way forward for a Clean and Green Village.